Here are the strength of schedule rankings for all 32 teams heading into 2023
It won’t be easy for the Eagles in 2023 to win the NFC East for the second straight season and make it back to the Super Bowl because they will face the NFL’s toughest strength of schedule.
NFC East hasn’t produced a repeat champion in 20 years, and judging by this season’s strength of schedule, that’s a drought that’s unlikely to end this year. Philadelphia has a strength of schedule of .566, which not only gives them the most challenging schedule for the upcoming season, but also makes them one of only two teams in the NFL — along with the Dolphins — with a strength of schedule greater than .550.
As a comparison, the other Super Bowl team from last year — Kansas City — will only have seven games against playoff teams from last season.
The Eagles’ home schedule is especially brutal with six of their eight games coming against teams that made the playoffs last year (Cowboys, Giants, Bills, 49ers, Dolphins and Vikings). Seven of Philly’s eight home games will take place against teams that finished 2022 with a record of .500 or better if the Commanders are added.
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Dolphins will face a brutal road schedule this year with games against the Bills, Chiefs, Chargers, Eagles, Ravens, and Aaron Rodgers’ Jets.
The Falcons, with a strength of schedule of .417, have the easiest schedule of any team based on the current scheduling formula, as they only play four playoff teams in 2022.
There may be a few surprises in the NFC South next season. One dark horse in that division could be Derek Carr’s Saints, who will face one of the easier schedules in the league.
The Saints have the second easiest schedule going into 2023 with a strength of schedule of .427 (only the Falcons and Saints face a strength of schedule under .430).
Over the past SEVEN YEARS, at least one team playing one of the two easiest schedules has made the postseason, which is good news for the Saints and/or Falcons. It is likely that either New Orleans or Atlanta (or both teams) will make it to the playoffs by 2023 if that trend holds.
The addition of the 17th game has injected a new challenge into the strength of schedule metric. As from 2002 to 2020, every team had the exact same set-up; playing four games against first-place finishers, four against second-place finishers, four against third-place finishers and four against last-place finishers. Now, good teams are being given more difficult schedules to endure.
In addition to the 17th game, a first-place team will now face FIVE first-place teams, so you won’t see a division winner with an easy schedule very often. The Eagles’ schedule is the most challenging in the NFC East this year, since they have to play five first-place teams, whereas the Cowboys, Giants, and Commanders will only play four first-place opponents.
In 2023, the Jaguars will play the easiest “first-place” schedule out of eight teams, which is notable, since first-place teams have done well in this situation since the NFL switched to a 17-game schedule in 2021. Having the “easiest” first-place schedule in 2022 resulted in a 12-5 season for the Cowboys. Having the “easiest” first-place schedule in 2021 led to an 11-6 season for the Bills.
When it comes to teams playing a “last-place” schedule, the Falcons scored the biggest win because they have the easiest schedule. As a result, even with the addition of Aaron Rodgers, the Jets, who play a last-place schedule, have the sixth most difficult schedule in the NFL, so this could be a rough year for them.
Houston Texans, who have the easiest schedule in the AFC, are one team to watch. Although they might not make the playoffs, it would not be surprising to see them improve by several games over their 3-13-1 record from 2022.
Two of the five toughest schedules this year will be played by the Giants and Dolphins, which may take a step back this year.
One thing about strength of schedule is that there is no accurate way to measure schedule difficulty before the season begins. Between now and the start of the season in September, rosters will continue to change due to injuries, free agency and trades. Even so, strength of schedule does provide you with an idea of what your favorite team will be facing next season.